GAME OF THRONES!!! Yes, I am that excited about this show, always. So, with so many characters, we’ve had to result to switching off different sets of characters to feature in each episode, which is getting very similar to the novel, which is written from different point-of-view characters. However, this can slow down the overall rhythm of the show and the season. (Also despite knowing what happens in the books, I’m going to review this as a show and not as an interpretation, so I’ll refrain from being cheeky and suggestive towards the source material.)
North of Winterfell
The episode starts off and we’re given a little gift by the show’s directors. Bran can walk again, Jon and Robb are by his side, as we get a re-shot of them together in a repeat of the scene in season one when they were teaching him to shoot. Of course, this is a dream. He sees the three-eyed crow in his dreams once again, along with a new character, Jojen Reed! But he soon wakes up from his dream and we are hit with the reality. Winterfell is gone, Bran and Rickon are on the run accompanied by Osha and Hodor with their direwolves, Summer and Shaggy Dog.
Travelling towards the Wall, they meet with the boy in Bran’s dreams, Jojen and his sister Meera. The Reeds are allies of the Starks, so at the very least they have the possibility of befriending these two young Starks. Jojen imparts some knowledge on Bran with his dreams, and tells him about Warging, which is the ability to see through animals. It’s something that Jojen is not only familiar with, but on his way to mastering. He also talks about the three-eyed crow, but everything is basically left mysterious to us.
King in the North Camp
And with the king of making stupid decisions, we have Robb getting the message about Winterfell, as well as the knowledge that Catelyn’s father is dead. In fighting a losing battle, it has become apparent to some of the men in Robb’s army that he’s essentially lost the war by marrying Talisa and breaking his oath to the Freys, among them some of this chief generals. With the news of what has happened in the Tully family, they travel towards Riverrun and on the way we see Talisa and Catelyn in conversation.
This confession of Catelyn’s pretty much explains why I dislike her character so much. Despite being honorable and a good mother, she’s not really that good of a person is she? I mean, I understand no one is perfect, but her long standing hatred for Jon Snow is a little unreasonable after 20 something years. So the fact that she believes what is happening to her is because of a broken oath with the gods is fine with me. Call me harsh, call me unreasonable, but I love Jon and the broken things of the series, so I will hate Catelyn until I’m given a reason not to.
Not on the Kingsroad
We get our first look at Brienne and Jaime since season two and are faced with the sass of Ser Jaime Lannister. I’m not sure if Brienne ever realized that Renly was actually gay, but Jaime sure does try his best to knock that knowledge into her brain. In some failed attempts at angering Brienne, Jaime finally frees himself from his bonds and the two show down with their swords. The fight is slow, though despite the fact that Jaime has his hands tied, they seem to be having a fight that is evenly matched. Of course, we’ve seen Brienne fight, so we know that she can’t actually kill him and just manages to tire him out. Too bad as they fight out in the open on the bridge, the Boltons find them.
It’s interesting to see how this happened. A passing civilian sees Brienne toting Jaime along, and as he leaves Jaime encourages her to kill the man since he might recognize Jaime but Brienne refuses to kill an innocent man. As the Boltons find them, it is revealed, to no one’s surprise that the man was the one who lead them there.
In the capitol, we have some interesting developments with Joffrey and his wedding to Margaery Tyrell. It’s clear to Cersei what her motives are, but as always, Joffrey is an asshole to her and basically tells him he does what he wants. Of course, if he always did that, he would have been killed a long time ago, too bad he chose now to be independent.
Shae is turning out to be quite an asset to Sansa, knowing all too well that Lord Baelish has some ulterior motive other than just helping young Sansa out. She tells Sansa to tell her if anything goes wrong, which just makes it feel like something will definitely go wrong. But the conversation is cut short as Sansa is called to meet with Olenna, the Queen of Thorns, also known as Margaery and Loras’s grandmother. In a moment of true disclosure, Sansa truthfully confesses her feelings to Olenna and Maegaery, who take her news rather well. Well, they take it without much shock and chock it up to an understanding of just what kind of beast they are dealing with.
So when she visits Joffrey, Margaery is able to use Joffrey’s creepy love of macabre to her advantage and actually seems to be gaining Joffrey’s favor. The two bond over things like new crossbow technology and watching things die. Meanwhile, Shae tells Tyrion what has transpired between Littlefinger and Sansa and chastises him for thinking Sansa pretty, though he’s quickly forgiven, if you know what I mean. I just, really want to trust Shae. I do.
North of the Wall
So they never really mentioned Wargs in the first two seasons, which helps explain a lot of the Stark kids dreams, but in this season it’s actually introduced. We see this with Jon and Mance Rayder in the North, as they come up to a wildling Warg who can see through the eyes of a bird, he tells them that he sees “dead crows”. But that’s really all we get of Jon, and instead we zoom in on a different group. The group of Night’s Watchers who are doing the slow march to the wall.
There’s some cruel bullying against Sam Tarly and he’s basically called useless and fat a bunch of times, which is not something he hasn’t heard before. But compounded with the loss of Jon plus just being past the Wall is catching up with him. Thank god, he has Ghost with him, because this guy can not catch a break.
Also on their way north…
is Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie. Although they are slightly/really lost, they meet up with the Brotherhood Without Banners and Thoros of Myr. You may have remembered them from Season 2, when the Lannisters were torturing men in Harrenhal for knowledge of the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood comes across the group of youths and feed them before sending them on their way. There’s a little tussle between Arya and Thoros, friendly but basically Arya gets schooled.
After eating their meal, Arya and the boys attempt to leave and be on their way, but there’s a small complication. Up until now, none of the Brotherhood know Arya’s true identity. But the new prisoner brought into the Brotherhood is none other than Sandor Clegane, The Hound. In a failed attempt to slip out, the Hound recognizes Arya and calls her out to all in the Brotherhood.
We find Theon in a dungeon somewhere, chained to a square cross and unable to move. He’s getting tortured and questioned for why he sacked Winterfell, but it seems no answer is enough for his captor. He’s left in pain and agony, but thankfully an unnamed someone comes in and saves him and loosens his torture, though does not free him, leaving poor Theon to his misery.
I would call this still a part of the premiere, the story is still being set up. We’re still seeing main characters we haven’t seen in a while. Although I see this as a major flaw in the planning of this show, I also respect the writers and directors in trying to remain true to the novels. With more characters being added in all the time, it’s going to be interesting how they take this season, as well as how they take this first half of the book.